Skip to main content

Full text of "The History Of Western Education"

See other formats


candidate for the baccalaureate had first to give proof of his
capacity by a disputation with a master in logic and grammar.
He then appeared before a board of examiners appointed by his
own nation. If the examiners found that he had attended the
appointed lectures for the proper period and was familiar with
the contents of the books he had studied, he went on to determine
—that is, to expound a thesis and to maintain it against opponents
for several days. If he carne through this ordeal successfully,
he ranked as a bachelor. After he had given further attendance
at lectures till he had gone over all the books that were to be
known and had himself lectured and disputed, he applied to the
chancellor for licence, and again was subjected to an oral exam-
ination, and had to lecture and dispute, this time in the presence of
the chancellor and four examiners. If approved he was now a
licentiate, but he had still to be received by the masters at the
ceremony of inception. After being approved by his nation and
taking the requisite oaths, he finished by conducting a disputation
before the regent masters, and formally became a master himself
by having the master's cap put on his head and taking his seat
on the master's chair.

The degree arrangements in the three higher faculties were
similar to those in arts. Usually, after some study, but not
necessarily graduation, in arts, the candidate for a mastership
in theology, medicine, or law had to undergo a prescribed routine
of study over a fixed period of time, examinations in which
disputation figured largely, and a ceremonial admission to
magisterial rank.

At first the degree system of the universities was regarded
as simply a part of their internal economy. But with the rise
of new universities from the very beginning of the Thirteenth
Century the question of the relative value of the degrees con-
ferred soon became one of some considerable importance. At
this stage even the universities of best standing were only well
developed in one of the higher faculties and had either no teachers,
or only inferior ones in the others; and it was necessary for
students who wished an all-round education to go to several
studia in quest of satisfaction* Hence the frequent wandering
of both masters and scholars from university to university,
which was one of the characteristic features of the early Middle
Ages. Thus, of one Peter of Blois, we read that he first studied